Virginia Institute of Marine Science
TROPICAL CONSERVATION SCIENCE
Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) present a potential risk for the transmission of invasive species. This is particularly the case for small, low-cost microROVs that can be easily transported among ecosystems and, if not properly cleaned and treated, may introduce novel species into new regions. Here we present a set of 5 best-practice guidelines to reduce the risk of marine invasive species introduction for microROV operators. These guidelines include: educating ROV users about the causes and potential harm of species invasion; visually inspecting ROVs prior to and at the conclusion of each dive; rinsing ROVs in sterile freshwater following each dive; washing ROVs in a mild bleach (or other sanitizing agent) solution before moving between discrete geographic regions or ecosystems; and minimizing transport between ecosystems. We also provide a checklist that microROV users can incorporate into their pre- and post-dive maintenance routine.
microROV, invasive species, robots, conservation, OpenROV
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
We thank Dr. Christie Wilcox for comments on an early draft of this manuscript and Roy Torgerson for assistance with Spanish translation. Funding was provided by Nautilus Minerals, Blackbeard Biologic, and through the support of Patreon crowdfunding to ADT. Nautilus Minerals graciously provided funds for Open Access publication. We thank one anonymous reviewer for their insightful and helpful comments. EB and DF are employees of OpenROV and acknowledge the potential conflict of interest.
Thaler, A. D., Freitag, A., Bergman, E., Fretz, D. and Saleu, W. 2015. Robots as vectors for marine invasions: best practices for minimizing transmission of invasive species via observation-class ROVs. Tropical Conservation Science Vol. 8 (3): 711-717. Available online: www.tropicalconservationscience.org